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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Beer Snob at Thunder Canyon

    Beer Snob at Thunder Canyon

    Give the Brawny man the decorative reins for a sports bar and he’d produce something similar to Thunder Canyon Brewery.

    Sitting at a booth in the brewery restaurant, my buddy Alex Causey who’s volunteering to help made this four-week series possible, argued about which aesthetic was more dominant, mountain town or sports bar. I argued for the latter, citing the numerous televisions, tacky fabric on the booth seats and the dull, all-glass entrance. It just felt like a sports bar.

    Causey made his argument, but I didn’t spend much time listening. I imagined, instead, the husky Brawny man twitching his mustache as he deliberated whether the framed pictures of lightning storms and barren deserts were level on the walls. Or I imagined him shouting, “”I want everything brown!””

    We stopped arguing when our waitress came and directed our attention to the nearest beer menu, a wooden board the size of a dorm poster, with its 11 beers. There’s something fun about not having a basic menu in your hand when looking for a drink. There’s something frustrating, however, about having to clarify everything because there’s no description on the board. After ordering one drink, you feel like you’re burdening the server with questions.

    But our waitress handled everything we threw her way with confidence and courtesy. And when asked what the specialty brew is at Thunder Canyon, she quickly pointed to the Roadrunner Red Lager. She claimed it won an award last October in the “”red”” category. Extensive Internet searches didn’t support her claim.

    Not long after we ordered, Causey’s Roadrunner showed up in a flush red and my Obsidian Porter came to the table.

    Thunder Canyon’s porter, unlike the one at Gentle Ben’s, contained some form of hops, so the malt flavor didn’t overpower the beer immediately. Sip after sip, and the beer grows on you, and the chocolate and coffee flavors arrive.

    Causey described the Roadrunner in one word: “”Great.”” All the proclaimed awards in the world don’t come close to that analysis.

    OK, I don’t regard Causey’s opinion that highly, but “”great”” is a nice compliment from a man who enjoys the finer things in life, like owning a house.

    For the next beer, Thunder Canyon went to the bowels of Hell and came back with the Doble Diablo, a demon that drinks smooth but contains 8.5 percent alcohol.

    “”Wow,”” Causey said – an upgrade from “”great.”” “”This is my beer.””

    He also added how creepy it was that a beer can be so good but still have such high alcohol content.

    I did the same combination I did at Ben’s last week and ordered the Windstrom Wheat. A standard wheat beer like the Windstrom doesn’t have the same deliciousness as it’s Marsha Brady sibling, Hefeweizen. But I’ll take a good Jan Brady any day. Besides, in Tucson’s heat, a wheat beer is always refreshing.

    When we finished our beers, Causey was still commenting on the Diablo. It had that perfect balance of hops and barley, he said, a smooth but deadly beer.

    And then things got weird. The bill arrived, and in the background, just like at Ben’s, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin was wailing away. And also like at Ben’s, we unknowingly stumbled in during happy hour, making our beers $3 each and not $4. With an odd, but heavy buzz from two beers, paranoia took over. I signed the check and got out of there fast, with some of Causey’s Diablo fast on my heels.

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